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19 January
Comments Off on How can benefit pros connect with Millennials? Try talking to them

How can benefit pros connect with Millennials? Try talking to them

Many studies have documented the attitude that millennials have toward customer service processes. Whether it’s an online chat, mobile banking transaction, or simply texting a food order, the non-essential transactions of their daily lives requires expedient service and response. Millennials want fast, efficient and reliable support, and they prefer digital self-service over a phone call.

In fact, the last thing that many millennials want to do is to contact a call center. Stories about the cable company and overseas tech support teams have, in many cases, created a culture of abstinence toward talking to a live human being. Why talk to someone when I can just chat or text? This perception of millennials seems to hold water in many cases. But are there certain instances where millennials prefer the personal touch over digital interactions?

17 January
Comments Off on Omahan, 58, arrested in connection with sexually explicit online conversation

Omahan, 58, arrested in connection with sexually explicit online conversation

The man was taken into custody Tuesday at 11:30 am at Dowding Swimming Pool, 1500 Washington St., in connection with the online chat with what he believed to be a juvenile boy.

17 January
Comments Off on New Call Center Is Changing How Well The VA Responds To Vets In Crisis
11 January
Comments Off on 5 Reasons Instant Messaging Makes Sense for Businesses
11 January
Comments Off on Pickpocket signs up for hacking classes to enable him to steal online
10 January
Comments Off on A national law needed to protect online freedom of speech
03 January
Comments Off on Abington man charged with 100-plus felony counts for online child pornography
01 January
Comments Off on Online grooming: Strike Force Trawler undercover police expose a …

Online grooming: Strike Force Trawler undercover police expose a …

Former high school teacher and womens basketball coach Patrick Foley Wilsons online conversation started innocently enough.

Tell me a funny or embarrassing story haha he asked the girl, jess13syd, hed just met on a chat site. You got a bf yet beach gal?

30 December
Comments Off on VA touts improved vets crisis line, opens new call center

VA touts improved vets crisis line, opens new call center

WASHINGTON –The Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday officially dedicated a new call center for its veterans crisis line — an addition that’s nearly doubled the agency’s capacity to help suicidal veterans and servicemembers.

The dedication of the new call center, located in Atlanta, comes at the end of a year in which it was revealed the crisis line was sending calls to voicemail or rolling them over to a backup call center.

Today we follow through on our commitment to give those who save lives every day at the crisis line the training, additional staff and modern call center technology they need to make the veterans crisis line a gold standard operation,” VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson, who attended the ribbon-cutting Tuesday, said in a written statement.

The Atlanta facility will have 200 responders who will be able to handle 600 calls daily. They’ve joined 310 responders at the VA’s other call center in upstate New York to answer calls, texts and online messages from veterans, servicemembers and their families. VA officials did not say how many calls they receive each day, overall.

Though the hub wasn’t dedicated until Tuesday, employees in Atlanta started work in October.

As of Dec. 8, the crisis line was answering 44 percent more calls than it was in March, according to the VA. But calls are still being rolled over to backup call centers.

When phone lines are busy, calls from veterans and servicemembers are routed to another contracted call center. A VA inspector general report released in February stated employees and volunteers in the backup call centers lacked training to handle crises. It also confirmed calls at the backup centers were being sent to voicemail, and some veterans and servicemembers seeking immediate help were never called back.

According to the report, callers also criticized the crisis line after being put on hold with “long wait times” to hear from a responder. Inspectors weren’t able to determine how long veterans were waiting on hold, but said in some cases veterans were placed in a queue or passed through several backup call centers.

Gregory Hughes, a former director of the crisis line, resigned several months after the report came out. In September, The Associated Press obtained internal emails from Hughes that said an average of 35 to 40 percent of crisis calls received in May rolled over to a backup call center.

Lawmakers responded by passing legislation, the “No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act,” requiring the VA to ensure calls made to the hotline are answered “in a timely manner.” For backup centers, the VA defines “timely access” as 90 percent of calls being answered within 30 seconds from when they’re routed from a main call center.

The legislation mandates VA leadership develop specific performance measures for the crisis line and a plan to test the two call centers and the contracted backup centers. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in November.

VA leaders said they will continue to hire more responders to meet the high demand. They expect the Atlanta and New York centers to be able to answer every call soon, and get away from routing calls to backup centers.

In March, 30 percent of calls were sent to the backup call centers, according to the VA. That’s since dropped to 16 percent, the VA said.

According to VA data, the crisis line answered 510,000 calls in fiscal 2016 and responded to 53,000 online chat requests and 15,000 texts. They dispatched emergency services 12,000 times to veterans, servicemembers or their families.

Call responders made 86,000 referrals for veterans or servicemembers to seek aid from suicide prevention experts in their communities.

A VA study released in July found approximately 20 veterans commit suicide each day. Of the 20, six use VA services.

To reach the veterans crisis line, callers dial the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and choose option 1. They can also text to 828255 or request a chat at
Twitter: @nikkiwentling

19 December
Comments Off on Nonprofit Glitch offers entry to gaming industry

Nonprofit Glitch offers entry to gaming industry

Headquartered on the University of Minnesota’s west bank, Glitch helps incipient game designers create, develop and publish games. The organization has helped designers throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas.


Kraikul and co-founder Nic VanMeerten, were undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota when they founded Glitch in May 2010. Kraikul was completing her pre-med degree in neuroscience but missed the days when she programmed battle simulators for America Online chat rooms. “I come from a traditional Thai family,” Kraikul said. “But I’ve had a computer since age three.”

Though it started as a collegiate group at the University of Minnesota, Glitch has since broadened its reach. The group has helped implement game-related curricula at the U and the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Kraikul said.

“Glitch is a community of nerds who enjoy playing and making games,” she said. “And we build programs to help you do the same.”

Digital games have become more prevalent and culturally accepted, but Glitch and its nerds still face hurdles. “Though perspectives are changing, we’re still not at the widely accepted level,” Kraikul said. “Video games are still perceived as ‘for kids and not for me.’ “

Yet the numbers say otherwise: 60 percent of Americans play video games and the majority of players are adults aged between 18 and 35, according to the Entertainment Software Association. As that generation ages, it’s love for games likely will grow with it.

And there’s certainly money to be made. Video games have become a $16.8 billion revenue industry with in the US and generated $79.7 billion worldwide last year, according to the International Trade Administration. US revenues are projected to increase by another $3 billion by 2019.


Glitch offers weekly events and has larger educational programs throughout the year. Its two-week Immersion program, occurring in January, takes a group of 20 people and asks them to stay awhile and listen — a joke any gamer should instantly get — as professionals educate them on a game development topic from start to finish. A past program resulted in an augmented reality game for the Minnesota Historical Society called Play the Past.

Augmented reality, a technology recently brought to the masses through this past summer’s wildly popular Pokemon Go, is where computer imagery is superimposed on an image of an actual place — like a museum. In Play the Past, students are given a mobile device to explore and interact with quests embedded in the exhibit.